Durham University opens Orbit building to support technology and science firms

Image of Sophie Walton - CBI, Jenny Taylor - Durham University and Sarah Slaven, Business Durham

Durham University has opened its £1.4m Orbit centre at NETPark in Sedgefield, a University Enterprise Zone purpose-built to provide support to technology and science SMEs.

Businesses that become members will benefit from targeted guidance and support from the University’s researchers and partners at Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Business Durham. Companies will also have access to one of the 13 flexible, private or collaborative office spaces and will be able to take part in networking events and skills workshops.

Jenny Taylor, Head of Economic Development at Durham University, said: “Orbit will enable us to support regional economic development by maximising opportunities for local business growth.

“I would like to thank all of the agencies who worked with us to repurpose and refurbish part of our research institute at NETPark to create Orbit. Funded by Research England and the European Regional Development Fund, It is a beautiful space that provides a welcoming environment for business and academia to work together.”

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director at Business Durham, added: “Orbit is a fantastic addition to NETPark and we look forward to seeing many more spin-out businesses coming out of the university and following in the foot-steps of businesses such as Kromek who have gone on to enjoy huge global success.”

“It is vitally important that we invest in providing the right infrastructure, support and academic expertise to encourage innovation in the county.

“Alongside our strategic partners Durham University and CPI, NETPark provides the right ecosystem to support businesses throughout their lifecycle from concept to commercialisation. Orbit is a welcome addition to NETPark that will help us widen those opportunities to businesses and maximise commercial opportunities with Durham University.”